The Gujarat High Court has upheld the power of municipalities under the Gujarat Municipalities Act and the Rules framed thereunder to retire a municipal servant at any time on or after he attains the age of 55 years on giving him three months notice.
A bench of Justice Biren Vaishnav observed,
"It was within the powers of the municipality in exercise of powers under Sec.271 to frame rules. Proviso to Rule 5 indicates that the action can be taken by a municipality against an employee where employee reaches the age of superannuation. This, of course, is subject to he being given three months notice and notice pay in lieu thereof."
The Court was hearing a challenge to the awards of the Labour Court regarding references filed by the employees of Patan Nagarpalika. One of the employees was working with the Nagarpalika and raised an industrial dispute before the Labour Court contesting the stand of the Petitioner-Nagarpalika for retiring them at age 55 whereas he was entitled to continue till age 60. The Labour Court had allowed the petitions and ordered reinstatement.
In appeal, the Nagarpalika prayed for the orders to be set aside, basis a decision of the Division Bench in SCA Nos. 22332 of 2005 and allied petitions where the certain employees were retired at the age of 55 in order to manage the costs of the Municipality. In the decision therein, the High Court had observed that the employees were paid three months' salary by the Municipality to settle the long-standing dispute. The Division Bench had also emphasised that under the Gujarat Municipalities Act, every Municipality was given the power under Sec 271 to frame its own Rules for its own affairs subject to State Government approval. The employees challenge to Rule 5 under the Act which empowers the Municipality to take action against an employee by retiring him at 55 years was also dismissed.
Keeping in view this decision, Justice Vaishnav confirmed that Rule 5 gave specific power to the Municipality for consequential retirement. An additional contention by the Respondents for paying two month's salary was rejected by the Bench on the ground that notice of three months was given by the Municipality in accordance with Rule 5.
Accordingly, the appeal was allowed.
Case Title: CHIEF OFFICER v/s DECD. SHREE SOLANKI KANUBHAI DANABHAI THROUGH LEGAL HEIRS MANJULABEN W/O KANUBHAI SOLANKI
Case No.: C/SCA/1697/2020
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 254